By Tim Horan
The Land Pride division of Great Plains Manufacturing at the Abilene West location now has 160 positions either filled or open.
City Manager Jane Foltz said some of the positions have yet to start.
She said that Great Plains also opened a welding school in Abilene which started last Monday.
“They will have eight students that will learn to weld during the first quarter session,” she said.
The nine-week program combines classroom instruction with hands-on sessions with an experience welder.
In September 2018 that Great Plains Manufacturing’s Land Pride Division bought the 350,000 square foot facility, the former ALCO warehouse that had been vacant since 2015..
One side of the warehouse now manufactures different attachments such as buckets, augers and trenchers.
The other half is working on the production of the SCL1000. The standup compact loader is manufactured exclusively at Abilene West. With a 36 inch width, it can go through a gate. Having a 24 horsepower turbo-charged engine, it can lift up to 1,000 pounds.
Great Plains Manufacturing which started in Salina has two facilities in Abilene, the West Facility at 2150 N.E. Eighth and one at 1100 N.W. Eighth Street.
Interim city manager
The commission gave unanimous approval of Finance Director Marcus Rothchild serving as interim city manager.
Foltz is retiring at the end of February.
The commission approved a 15 percent increase in annual salary at $86,303.36. Current salary is $75,046.40 and the 15 percent increase is 11,256.36.
Foltz also stated that Harold Courtois, chief executive officer of Memorial Health System, reported that the possible affiliation with Salina Regional Health Center would not delay the payout of the current bonds for the expansion of Abilene Memorial Hospital.
The Memorial Health System Board of Directors has not made a decision on the possible affiliation.
Foltz said the drainage project in northeast Abilene west of Faith Avenue is progressing.
“They will continue to work as weather will allow,” Foltz said.
The commission also approved the purchase of an asphalt heating unit.
City Public Works Director Lon Schrader said the unit, at a cost of $14,700, will fit into the back of the truck. The cost for it is in the 2021 capital improvement budget.
He said the unit will allow the asphalt to be kept overnight, thus resulting in less waste.
The commission also voted unanimously to a public right-of-way deed for Rogers Street so work can be done on the road west of Sterl Hall.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.